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To prove I am still here...

anomilygrace's daily poetry posting made me think of poems. And her silly poem yesterday made me think of other silly poems as I am wont to do when presented with such things.

Thus, I give you...

Common Cold
by Ogden Nash

Go hang yourself, you old M.D,!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
In not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.

By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever's hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!

Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The Führer of the Streptococcracy.

Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.

A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!

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Could be worse...I guess

I had to have had the least productive day in human history - at least for those people TRYING to have a productive day. Take the following example and multiply it by 8 (the number of distribution companies I called today).

9:15am:
Called company to order 25ug Duragesic (fentanyl) pain patches. (For those who do not know, these are a controlled substance and require special paperwork to authorize sales.) My inside sales representative was happy to help. Asked for company's new address for the DEA 222 form, since the company sent me several emails about their "Moving sale". Rep said she could email me a sample pre-filled form to fax in instead of manually filling out a carbon copy form. I was appreciative and hung up to wait for email.

12:00pm:
After much other ordering frenzy, called company back because DEA form 222 has not arrived. Representative is sure she sent it long ago. Oh, wait, no...there it is in her outbox. She apologizes and sends form.

12:15pm:
Receive form. Cannot use pre-filled form, because my product is not listed on it. Manually fill out normal carbon-copy form. Wait for doctor to finish surgery so he can sign it and I can fax it to distributor for DEA officer review and approval.

12:45pm:
Fax signed form to distributor's DEA officer and wait for phone call approval of form so I can call FedEx to pick up form to be delivered to distributor. (They must have physical copy in hand before they can send out medication.)

4pm:
Call distributor because no DEA form approval has been given, and no refusal of form, either. Rep is on another call, so I leave a message and also send email. Must be able to package and ship the form before we close at 6pm, which means I must call before 5pm if FedEx is going to get there in time.

4:20pm:
Receive email back from distributor rep. So sorry, the person who normally checks DEA forms is out of the office, today. Will have someone else approve.

5:55pm:
Call distributor. No one has called regarding the DEA form and now it is too late to call FedEx. So sorry, your usual rep has gone home for the day, let me find someone who can help you.

6pm:
On hold.

6:05pm:
NotMyRep: Sorry, the person who was supposed to call you had someone else do it. She left a message saying that she talked to someone at your hospital about the approval. She is gone for the day, and she didn't leave a note as to who she talked to. Your form is approved - you can send it now.

Me: I will have to have it sent tomorrow as it is too late to send it today.

NotMyRep: I'm sorry. Oh! I see another note on your account, just a second....Hmm...you wanted the 25ug Duragesic patches?

Me: Yes...?

NotMyRep: They are currently out of stock and on backorder for at least 2 weeks. Would you like a different size? Of course, since your DEA 222 form is signed and approved for the 25ug size, you will need to fill out and submit for approval a new form with the correct information if you choose a different size.

Me: *headdesk*
The Revolutionary Paul Revere The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel Miller


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have a keen interest in the Revolutionary War and the history of the United States' founding, so the subject matter of this book was right up my alley. I found the writing style of the book to be extremely accessible. Through much of the book, I felt as though Paul's history was being recounted to me through oral tradition versus a history text. There were copious references, but the subject of the book was delivered with a wink and a smile. The short chapter vignettes were perfect for a quick read here and there throughout a busy day, and made the book go quickly.I am not sure how much this particular biography of Paul Revere brings fresh to the table versus the apparent plethora of books on the man that already exist (I counted at least 8 in the references), but it is certainly well-written. I do wish there had been a little more information about Revere's family and descendants, but this book thoroughly covers his business and professional pursuits and pastimes.I received a review copy of this book from Booksneeze.com.

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Not just another bloody book

One Bloody Thing After Another One Bloody Thing After Another by Joey Comeau


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The cover of this book says just about all you need to know - the plot of this story seems normal at first, like the black cat on the cover, but reality is set on its side, and on second thought, appears slightly sinister. The title, too, is a tongue in cheek clue to the plot. Read it once, it's a mundane complaint. Read it again, and it is a quite chilling warning.

I don't want to delve too much into the particulars of the plot as much of the spine tingling is related to the mystery of what comes next. On the surface, there are three subtly interwoven storylines, here. Jackie sees the world from a slightly different perspective than the rest of us, and marks the landmarks of her life with trees. Having just read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, I find Jackie to be slightly reminiscent of that book's Melinda. Ann's tale involves her mother and sister, and a problem at home that threatens to consume them. Charlie is a lonely older man who daily encounters a headless ghost on his walks with his ancient dog, Mitchie. These encounters always bring him to the doorstep of Mrs. Richards. Three people, caught in the day to day dealings with problems not quite so day to day. Each wanting to be understood, loved, and heard.

I was enthralled by this book. I couldn't put it down. I wish it were longer. The writing was dreamlike and evoked a sense of normality laced with the unreal, youth touched by agelessness, longing tempered with boredom or perhaps irritation. The author gives us the promise, in part 4 that "Everyone gets their happy ending", but I don't think that any of the endings are quite what one expects.

Although there are definite aspects of horror to this story, they are used to tell a much bigger tale. In considering this book again, it reads like a Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale (not the Disney-fied versions) - a similar mix of the bloodthirsty, the fantastic and the mundane, a story for children, but not quite. I hunger for more books from this author...with big, pointy, blood-drenched teeth, I will devour them.

I received a review copy of this book from ECW Press.

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Romancing Miss Bronte: O Rly?

Romancing Miss Brontë Romancing Miss Brontë by Juliet Gael


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway. I initially thought that this book would be about a love affair involving one of the Bronte sisters, but in fact, it read much like a novelized biography of Charlotte. This, however, made the book all the more appealing to me. I have not read a biography of any of the Brontes, so I am not sure how much research is behind this book (since it was an ARC, the Author's notes are not included - I would be interested to read these), but it read as though the author was very knowledgeable about the time period and the people of the day.

I do feel that the title was a bit misleading, as the romance that occurs in the book is one-sided and limited to the latter third of the book - almost an afterthought. Perhaps this is because after her heart is broken, love, for Charlotte, is also an afterthought. The plot is engaging, the characters complex and diverse, and the writing solid. The pages flew by. I do wish that there had been more about the other two sisters - they faded into the background a bit, but the relationship between Charlotte and her father and her brother were more strongly developed.

The life of Miss Bronte is quite tragic, but the book does not become maudlin. If anything, the author might be criticized of being too matter-of-fact about illness and death through most of the book - but one also might argue that at the time, these things were much more prevalent than today, and the subject was handled well enough in the end that I was quite moved.

I thought Charlotte stood out as a very real-feeling and well-developed character with a strong sense of independence that conflicted with her sense of duty. The author evoked a sense of an alternate time period without becoming overbearing or ponderous, and I was engaged in the story from start to finish - there was no time that I thought that the story lagged. I do think that the book can do with a bit of "tightening" as there were some typographical errors and a few places where a sentence seemed "stuck in" to force foreshadowing.

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Lethal rage by Brent Pilkey

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Nietzsche Such is the dilemma of Jack Warren, Toronto police officer. Transferred from a division in which his days were filled with parking tickets and misdemeanors to a beat in the part of town where every call is an exercise in survival, Jack feels that he is finally making a difference. However, there are rumors about how Division 51 changes cops for the worse, and the line between justice and vengeance becomes very blurred as Jack is thrown into a manhunt head-first.

I don't usually mark hard-boiled police dramas as my favorite type of fiction, but I must admit that I was drawn into the story, wondering what would become of Jack. He wasn't a character that I immediately liked, but over time, I came to understand him better, and rooted for his success.

I felt that this book could have done with some stronger female characters, and a bit more fleshing out, but overall I did enjoy it. The writing was straightforward, no-nonsense - fitting for the tough neighborhoods Jack roamed.

I would be curious to discover how much of Lethal Rage was drawn from author Brent Pilkey's personal experience, as he spent 15 years in the 51 Division he describes.

I received an ARC of this book for review purposes from ECW press.

Unraveling the Tangled Bank: A book review

The Selfless Gene: Living with God and Darwin The Selfless Gene: Living with God and Darwin by Charles Foster


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received Charles Foster’s “The Selfless Gene” through Booksneeze.com’s free review copy program. I thought the subject matter to be an engaging topic as I am a Christian who studied paleontology in college. I do find, at times, that my religious beliefs and my scientific knowledge are hard to resolve, and my analytical mind is still searching for the “right” and satisfying resolution between my faith in God and my knowledge of science.

In the book, Foster notes that, “The biologists will think that I have oversimplified the biology. The nonbiologists will justifiably moan that I have summarized too brutally some very big and complex ideas,” and I do believe this to be true. Although I found Foster’s writing to be readable and engaging, It seems to me that much of the science was too superficially explained to really be compelling and I felt that the religious arguments were also tentatively dealt with, making me feel that I was missing something. While Foster raises many interesting topics of discussion, it seemed that none were dealt with thoroughly enough to be satisfying.

I also felt that (and perhaps this is because of my own scientific bias) the book was quite biased towards evolution and was a bit derogatory towards some Christian groups. I realize that Foster feels that there are too many extremists on both sides of the issue, but I felt that he held a certain contempt for Young Earth Christian groups. He does indicate in his preface that he wrote the book because he was angry at the existence of the debate, and that he assumed that his book would ruffle feathers on both sides, but I felt the book was not as balanced as it might have been. It did, however, raise many interesting points regarding the interpretation of various parts of the Bible that I had not previously considered, so all in all, I do feel that this book strengthened my convictions and while it did not completely resolve the complex relationship between science and God (let’s face it, that will likely never happen!), I think books in this vein are much needed and to be applauded.

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Still trying out the gallery feature


Christmas 2009 Christmas 2009
Christmas 2009 Christmas 2009
Christmas 2009 Christmas 2009
Story Time with Nana and Poppa Story Time with Nana and Poppa
Birthday with Aunt Sara Birthday with Aunt Sara
I see it! I see it!
Go! Diego Halloween Costume - 2009 Go! Diego Halloween Costume - 2009
Military Halloween Costume 2009 Military Halloween Costume 2009
Placing the star 2009 Placing the star 2009

XanderSpam

I'm trying out the new gallery feature in LJ. I added some fall pictures of the Little Man to this gallery.

http://pics.livejournal.com/jennisis/gallery/00001swa

No cheesecake for me!

I have learned some very important things, lately:

1) Coughing, hiccuping and swallowing food cannot all happen at the same time.
2) If you have bronchitis over thanksgiving, your turkey will taste like mentho-lyptus
3) A mother is doubly wonderful when she is a grandmother
4) Not being able to breathe causes severe lack of energy
5) Even when you are better, apparently, you still sound like you are dying
6) Yummy comfort foods like Panera broccoli-cheese soup, cheesecake and other creamy goodness cause more coughing.
7) Apparently, you can projectile cough
8) Coughing can become much more embarrassing after you have had a child
9) Rain in December is almost more depressing than Christmas decorations in September